and thus unable to elude us, whichever way she turned
upon leaving the window. We had previously planned
how we should shadow our quarry, one on each side
of the street in order not to attract attention, but
these tactics seemed to be entirely unnecessary, for
the young lady did not have the slightest suspicion
that anyone could be in the least interested in her
movements. She walked leisurely along, stopping
now occasionally to gaze at the shop windows and never
once turning to look back. She did not even
conceal the letter, but held it in her hand with her
porte-monnaie, and I could see that the address was
uppermost. A strange sensation came over me as
I dogged her steps. I felt as an assassin must
feel who tracks his victim into some lonely spot where
he may dare to strike him. It was useless for
me to tell myself that I was on the side of justice
and engaged in an honourable errand. A single
glance at the girl’s delicate face, as frank
and open as the morning light, brought the hot blush
of shame to my cheek. In following her I dimly
felt that, in some way, I was seeking to associate
her with evil, which seemed little less than sacrilege.
I could do nothing, however, but keep on, so I followed
her through Devonshire Street, to New Washington and
thence down Hanover Street almost to the ferry.
Here she turned into an alleyway and, waiting for
Maitland to come up, we both saw her enter a house
at its farther end.
George glanced hastily up at the house and then said,
as he seized me impatiently by the arm: “It’s
a tenement house; come on, the chase is not up yet;
we, too, must go in!”
So in we went. The young lady had disappeared,
but as we entered we heard a door close on the floor
above, and felt sure we knew where she had gone.
We mounted the stairs as noiselessly as possible
and listened in the hall. We could distinguish
a woman’s voice and occasionally that of a man,
but we could not hear what passed between them.
On our right there was a door partly ajar.
Maitland pushed it open, and looked in. The room
was empty and unfurnished, with the exception of a
dilapidated stove which stood against the partition
separating this room from the one the young lady had
entered. Maitland beckoned to me and I followed
him into the room. There was a key on the inside
of the door which he noiselessly turned in the lock.
He then began to investigate the premises.
Three other rooms communicated with the one of which
we had taken possession, forming, evidently, a suite
which had been let for housekeeping. Everything
was in ill-repair, as is the case with most of the
cheap tenements in this locality. The previous
tenant had not thought it necessary to clean the apartments
when quitting them,—for altruism does not
flourish at the North End,—but had been
content to leave all the dirt for the next occupant.